The Detroit Institute of Art saw a three-fold increase in visitors last week as thousands of residents of three Michigan counties took advantage of a free-entry policy arising from the passage of a tax hike to support the museum, writes the Detroit Free Press.
Voters in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties earned the 10-year free pass by approving a regional property-tax "millage" in an Aug. 7 referendum. The slight tax hike will raise an estimated $23-million a year for 10 years to help the museum attain long-term fiscal health.
In the five days after the vote nearly 8,000 visitors went the institute, some 5,000 of them from the three counties. In the same period in 2011, the museum's attendance was about 2,600.
Institute officials said other factors likely contributed to the boom, including increased visibility for the museum amid news coverage of the millage vote and high-profile special exhibitions featuring prints by Matisse and Picasso and photographs by the rocker and writer Patti Smith.